The National Medical Commission (NMC) has approved 50 more medical seats for Sikkimese students at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences (SMIMS), an official said on Saturday.
These seats will be free of cost for students from Sikkim who top the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the state government will pay all expenses of the course, he said.
The development takes the number of reserved seats under the state quota to 80. Earlier, there were 30 reserved seats for local students but they had to pay for the five-year course.
Welcoming the decision, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang called it a “big achievement” and said that the approval letter has been received and an MoU signed between the Sikkim government and SMIMS in this regard.
He said that the state government was trying for this allotment for some years now and the new development will benefit students from financially weaker background.
“Earlier, parents and guardians had to pay around Rs 16-17 lakh annually, which amounted to around Rs 1 crore by the time their wards completed the MBBS course. Many of the deserving candidates had to drop out due to the high fees. But now, the state government will sponsor the education of the 50 selected students,” he said. Admission to the 50 seats will begin from this semester.